Subject: UNIFEM Aus: Action for Survivors of Violence vs.Women

The following information was taken from UNIFEM Australia Inc Website on the 2/11/00 :

EAST TIMOR: Special Advocacy and Action in East Timor for Surviviors of Violence Against Women (VAW) The aim of the project is to support the women of East Timor through training in counselling skills and techniques with a focus on violence against women in situations of conflict. The project will also strengthen regional capacity to provide training and counselling services to survivors of VAW.

Plans for the project are progressing slowly due to the overwhelming number of offers and the enormity of the task. A national meeting of women was held in East Timor on 24-25 June and Dr Lorraine Corner, the UNIFEM Program Director for East and South East Asia Region undertook a week's mission to East Timor 15-21 July 2000.

Plans are underway to have ASCENT, a prominent regional Human Rights NGO undertake an assessment of the current situation and the capacity of women's and other NGOs in East Timor to mainstream women's issues and women's participation in decision making and leadership at all levels. This will provide a firm basis for our programming in East Timor. We are also working closely with the new Head of the Gender Unit in UNTAET (the UN Temporary Administration in East Timor), Sherrill Whittington, an Australian who has been with UNICEF in New York and was previously with the Commonwealth of Learning. The Judicial Affairs Unit in UNTAET is headed by a former UNIFEM Region Program Director in Zimbabwe, Gita Welch. It is hoped to appoint a UNIFEM liason officer to UNDP in East Timor, possibly through UNV.

Another link in our East Timor network is Mia Hyun, the chief Technical Assistant on a UNDP project with which UNIFEM has also been associated in Viet Nam. Mia recently undertook a review of Oxfam's program in East Timor from a gender perspective.

It is very important in East Timor to build up a sound understanding of the needs and capacities before we launch our VAW project. So, although the project itself is progressing slowly, the related activities necessary to achieve the best results are making good progress.

FOOTNOTE: In recent years funds have been provided from UNIFEM in Australia to projects in Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, Laos and the Pacific Island Nations.

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